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State Labor Treasurers back removal of GST from sanitary products

The Treasurer of Queensland Crutis Pitt along with the Labor State Treasures of Victoria, South Australia and the ACT today confirmed that they will seek to have the GST removed on sanitary products, when it is raised at next week’s Council of Federal Financial Relations in Canberra.

The Treasures have said the removal of GST from sanitary products is about fairness.

Currently, Australian women spend close to $300 million on sanitary products, but unlike condoms, lubricants and sunscreen – which are all exempt from GST – also pay GST on those purchases.

On ABC’s Q&A in May the federal Treasurer Joe Hockey said he would raise this issue with the States and Territories and seek their opinion.

We look forward to Mr Hockey putting it to the states and territories, and providing the opportunity for all the treasurers to back it in. The proposal also has the support of federal Labor.

The change is simple. Once the proposal receives the unanimous support of the states and territories, the federal Health Minister can declare by determination, the supply of a good to be GST-free. Currently, condoms, lubricants, folic acid, sunscreen and nicotine (in any form for use as an aid in withdrawal from tobacco smoking) are declared under this determination.

Analysis shows that the revenue lost by the removal of the GST on sanitary products will be more than covered by the broadening of the GST to include digital downloads. This represents a rare opportunity for the Commonwealth to remove the GST from sanitary products without decreasing GST revenue to the states.

Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt  said “This issue dates back to when John Howard first conceived the GST. It was unfair to subject essential feminine hygiene products to GST then and it still is now.” while Victorian Treasurer said  Tim Pallas ‘There is no sensible reason why GST – an unfair tax by its very nature – should be imposed on sanitary products, and it’s high time that this was removed.”

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